Arjun Kamath shot to fame with his photo shoots collectively titled ‘Coming Out’, and AlphaDigest Features Writer Tvara Mehta recently spoke to him to understand the little motivations that drive such exemplary creative passion.
Beautiful photographs infused with emotions, describing the deepest, darkest of emotions and highlighting social evils subtly, is the best way to describe Arjun Kamath’s photography essays which are raging the internet today. His story ‘Coming Out’ was featured by the UN as an example of the kind of support that LGBT rights deserve. In a tête-à-tête with Tvara, he talks about his childhood years and what made him churn out these magical photo-stories.
Arjun Kamath – Demystified
AlphaDigest: Tell us about your childhood in Bangalore!
Arjun Kamath: I grew up at my grandparent’s house in Bangalore. I lived there as my school was near to their place. They were very kind to me as I was the only grandson and hence I was pampered. Both my parents are doctors, and they’d visit me thrice a week. I loved playing cricket, and hanging out with my friends and would eat chaat after school. There was no internet penetration in those days and hence we played a lot of outdoor games. I remember watching ‘Hum Paanch’ on TV and loving it!
AlphaDigest: What inspired you to start clicking?
Arjun Kamath: I went on a family trip in 2008, with this basic Canon camera. We had gone to Uttarakhand and I pulled out some amazing pictures, which were praised by a lot of people. When I put them on Facebook, strangers also commented that they were great and hence I gave it a serious thought.
In the interim, I was involved in a lot of theater, worked on short films and played a small part in 3 idiots. That’s when I realized that I loved telling stories! The idea of photographic stories grew on me.
So, I kept pulling out pictures and then suddenly decided if I have to do this, I will give it my best shot and applied to the world’s best filmmaking school for my masters, and got selected to the USC School of Cinematic Arts in LA for my degree in Television and Film Production.
AlphaDigest: How was your filmmaking experience at USC School of Cinematic Arts?
Arjun Kamath: USC School of Cinematic Arts was attended by prominent Hollywood directors like George Lucas (Star Wars), Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Angels & Demons) and Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Cast Away). It was undoubtedly awesome to study in the world’s best film school. On an average, they select about one in every 100 applicants, and I am grateful for the chance I received. I’ve learnt the in-s and out-s of filmmaking, and these photograph essays are nothing but a proof of concept of what I learnt there.
AlphaDigest: You have been featured by The Independent, United Nations, BuzzFeed, The Guardian, Deccan Chronicle, The Hindu, CNN and India Today amongst many others eminent daily’s and organizations, and now you’ve got an exclusive feature on AlphaDigest! How does it feel?
Arjun Kamath: I got a call from the United Nations last year in September after I had received an email asking for an interview. They featured my story ‘Coming out’ to support LGBT rights. It was indeed a proud moment for me and I felt like I was duly rewarded for all my hard work. Undoubtedly, appreciation feels good!
AlphaDigest: What about your rising popularity on Social Media?
Arjun Kamath: Facebook is a platform where one can truly connect with people all over the world and get instant approval (or disapproval). Funnily, people come online to see their latest updates and end up following various stories that pop up in their news feeds. It is here where an artist can connect with people, which has proved to be a wonderful platform for me to share my work.
I make stories on the evils of our society which still persist in spite of scientific advancements. ‘Avani’ was about saving the girl child and the sad plight of women in India. ‘Coming out’ was about LGBT rights and shows two women coming out of the closet, and the hardships they face. The latest one ‘Color of our skin’ is about one more such issue, which you will soon find out.
AlphaDigest: Any plans to make a feature film in future?
Arjun Kamath: I aim to produce a Hindi feature film in the next three to four years. I am working on a documentary right now, which is about three women who have gone bare for photo shoots. We are trying to explore what makes them go for such a strong career path, and how models and women in general, are perceived in the wrong light, thanks to an otherwise ignorant but stubborn ‘society’.
AlphaDigest: List your inspirations! Which are your favorite films and who’re your favorite directors?
Arjun Kamath: My favorite movies are The Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile and Twelve Angry Men. An all-time Bollywood favorite is Lagaan. And without a shred of doubt about it, my favorite director is Christopher Nolan.
Note: You can visit Arjun’s Facebook Page At: https://www.facebook.com/arjunkamathart/?pnref=about.overview